Vol. 35, No. 5
From the Courts
Colorado Disciplinary Cases
Summaries of Disciplinary Opinions
The summaries for the Presiding Disciplinary Judge and Hearing Board are prepared by the Office of the Presiding Disciplinary Judge. The summaries of the decisions of the Presiding Disciplinary Judge are provided as a service by the Colorado Bar Association and are not the official language of the Decisions. The Colorado Bar Association cannot guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the summaries.
Full copies of the Decisions generally follow the summaries pages. The summaries and full-text Decisions also are accessible from the CBA website: http://www.cobar.org (click on The Colorado Lawyer tab, then the appropriate issue). Decisions, including Exhibits, Complaints, and Amended Complaints and summaries, also are available at the Office of Presiding Disciplinary Judge website: http://www.coloradosupremecourt.com/PDJ/pdj.htm, as well as on LexisNexis® at http://www.lexis.com/research, by clicking on States Legal-U.S./Colorado/Cases/CO Supreme Court Disciplinary Opinions from 1999.
Summaries of Decisions Regarding Conditional Admission of Misconduct Issued by the Presiding Disciplinary Judge
(Through March 2006)
[The Presiding Disciplinary Judge’s approval of Conditional Admissions of Misconduct does not result in a written Opinion but only a brief Order, which does not constitute precedent. Conditional Admissions of Misconduct are public record and are available for review at the Office of the Presiding Disciplinary Judge, 1560 Broadway, Denver, CO 80202; (303) 866-6658; http://www.coloradosupremecourt.com/PJD/pdj.htm.
People v. Marsh, No. 06PDJ013, 03/17/2006. Attorney Suspended for Three Years.
The Presiding Disciplinary Judge approved a Conditional Admission of Misconduct submitted by the parties and suspended respondent Gary L. Marsh, attorney registration number 34621, from the practice of law for a period of three years. Suspension was effective April 17, 2006. Respondent agreed to reimburse his former clients and/or the client protection fund as a condition of his reinstatement.
Respondent negligently converted client funds when he failed to place retainers into a trust account and subsequently failed to return the unearned portions of these retainers to his clients on termination of his representation. Respondent also neglected several client matters and failed to properly communicate with his clients.
Respondent’s misconduct constituted grounds for the imposition of discipline pursuant to C.R.C.P. 251.5. His misconduct violated Colo. RPC 1.3; Colo. RPC 1.4; Colo. RPC 1.5(f); Colo. RPC 1.15(a); and Colo. RPC 1.16 (d). The Presiding Disciplinary Judge found significant mitigating factors when approving the sanction, despite respondent’s serious misconduct.
People v. Robertie, No. 06PDJ007, 02/23/2006. Attorney Suspended for One Year and One Day.
The Presiding Disciplinary Judge approved a Conditional Admission of Misconduct submitted by the parties and suspended respondent George F. Robertie, attorney registration number 28417, from the practice of law for a period of one year and one day, with conditions of reinstatement. Suspension was effective February 3, 2006.
Respondent attempted to obtain a controlled substance when he took a blank prescription form from his doctor, filled in false information on the prescription form, and submitted it to a pharmacy. The potential injuries of respondent’s actions include defrauding a pharmacist and illegally obtaining a controlled substance. Respondent pled guilty in Denver District Court to the charge of obtaining a controlled substance by fraud or deceit, which is a class 5 felony and a serious crime, as defined by C.R.C.P. 251.20(e)(1).
Respondent’s misconduct constituted grounds for the imposition of discipline pursuant to C.R.C.P. 251.5 and violated Colo. RPC 8.4(b) and (c). Respondent fully cooperated with the Office of Attorney Regulation in proceedings related to this misconduct.
People v. Thoms, No. 06PDJ014, 03/17/2006. Attorney Suspended for Six Months—Five Months Stayed—Three-Year Probation, With Conditions.
The Presiding Disciplinary Judge approved a Conditional Admission of Misconduct submitted by the parties and suspended respondent William E. Thoms, attorney registration number 25119, from the practice of law for a period of six months, five months of which were stayed on the successful completion of a three-year period of probation, with conditions. Sanction was effective April 17, 2006.
Respondent failed to safeguard client funds by failing to maintain a trust account and by treating the client funds as his own before he earned them. Respondent also failed to establish a written fee agreement with his client, which created confusion for the client regarding how much respondent’s representation would cost. Respondent’s misconduct constituted grounds for the imposition of discipline pursuant to C.R.C.P. 251.5. His misconduct violated Colo. RPC 1.5(b); Colo. RPC 1.15(a); and Colo. RPC 1.15(f)(1).
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